Dashboards are everywhere, they can be found in business apps, management information systems, administration tools. They all have the following in common, they show summaries, key trends, comparisons, and exceptions. Usually all of above relate to key performance indicators or to derived (rolled up) data.
The "traditional" Dashboard
In the spatial space the data is rolled up to geographical (mostly political) units like continents, countries, or states and therefore provide a graphical presentation of the current status (temporal) in relation to its geographical location. This is typically displayed as a thematic map side by side with summaries, charts, gauges, graphics, or tables.
While this approach is completely valid its biggest weakness is the disconnect of visual perception to visual presentation of information, i.e. the intent of communicating geographical information isn't clear or at a minimum ambiguous. How do the data charts relate to the data shown on the map?
The proposed "new" Dashboard
The app is built using Esri's ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight and the recently published (free) web API of the World Bank that provides access to up to 50 years of economic, financial and health data.
Besides mastering some technical challenges (missing cross-domain access file, amount of web requests) the map viewer looks sharp and straight forward without the usual template-related overkill of functionality - great job visualizing all this economic data. Let's see which other - maybe analytical? - mapping tools will follow...